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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING   TORSO

CHAPTER XI           BACK TO PARIS AND TO CELEBRITIES
I WENT to Modigliani's studio and stayed with the
Pole. It was very uncomfortable but I did not mind
as I was quite used to discomfort. My Pole sold
some pictures to the dealer and a collector, so we
had a little money to live on. We had a large coke
stove on which we cooked. There was no gas or
electric light, so we had an oil lamp. In the morn-
ings the Pole cleaned and filled the lamp, and in the
evenings we read the French classics, sitting one
each side of Modigliani's old and scarred table.
The picture-dealer had a spare copy of Modigliani's
death mask. There were, I think, four taken. It
was rather horrible as his mouth had not been
bound up and his jaw dropped. It looked terrifying
through the door of the first workshop in the shadow.
We felt that we had to keep it with us, because if we
put it out or gave it away it would be a breach of
friendship. The Arab came and spent the evenings
with us. Sometimes we got a bottle of cheap wine
and talked about Montparnasse before the War.
The painter who lived downstairs came to see us
sometimes too. In the summer he became very
eccentric and did the most odd things. The first
thing he would do was to break the lock of his studio
door. One night we came home from the Cafe
Parnasse about midnight and found his door wide
open. In front of the door, on an easel, was a
painting of an enormous eye. It was done in great
detail and was about two feet wide and a foot high,
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